Life Lessons

Sacrifice V Choice

My sister sent me two videos yesterday, one of them was the new commercial about Michael Phelps. The caption of the advert: “It is what you do in the dark that puts you into the light”. I love that statement and the commercial too, but this blog isn’t centred on it. The second video was of more interest to me. The second video focused on the reaction that Michael Phelps and his fiancé Nicole had when showed the video for the first time. Nicole’s reaction was interesting: she said “it’s knowing what he sacrificed and being able to see it on the screen”. That word – sacrifice – hit me hard.

I remember an interview a British cyclist gave after winning gold in a track cycling event at the London Olympics. I can’t quite remember the name of the athlete, but what I do remember from the interview is how she answered a question. The question came from a news service and commented on the sacrifices she had to make to win Olympic Gold. Her response was thought provoking. She questioned the sacrifices she had made and concluded that she hadn’t actually made any. Everything she did on her journey propelled her to that moment in time. How could she have sacrificed if ultimately she had achieved what she had set out to achieve?

Currently, I am an athlete striving to make the Olympics in Rio this year. These two different reactions to sacrifice catalysed me into thinking about what I have sacrificed. Honestly, I came to the same conclusion as the British cyclist, but for a different reason – I love what I do. I wake up before the sun rises. My body is wrecked after a hard week of practice. I can’t drink alcohol during certain times of the year. The nightlife for an athlete normally constitutes of staying indoors and watching a movie. These aren’t sacrifices. These are the choices that I make. They are choices that enable me to do the thing that I love.

The word sacrifice is glorified. It’s used to describe the lives of our sporting heroes, just like it was used to describe Michael Phelps. But in reality our heroes didn’t view the things that we perceive to be sacrifices, they viewed them as choices. All of us are faced with choices everyday. And we make choices based on what we hope to achieve. Whether that’s enrolling in Law School, deciding to raise a child, accepting a job in business or even an athlete deciding whether or not to get up for practice. Our lives are littered with choices, and its how we make those choices that determines the path we follow in life.

The word sacrifice is negative and makes us think that things aren’t attainable in our lives. But everything is attainable, through the choices we make. If you love what you do, the word sacrifice isn’t in your vocabulary.

The link provided shows Michael Phelps’ new commercial. It’s definitely worth a watch:




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